A quick, short, not long, not tall blog today… a summary of yesterdays game. A game which could see us out of the title race at the final hurdle. Ground hog day? Indeed – it seriously feels like that! Another year, another collapse, but worst of all, another lacklustre performance.
Arsene Wenger has assembled a team of very talented players, that is without doubt – but tactics and motivation are two things that are just as equally important to a team, to a mentality of winning. Two questions, which are becoming increasing common, are…
Are we playing the right tactics? and are we motivated enough to win?
I don’t believe the answer to either question is yes.
Let’s take a look at yesterday’s game…. and our line up was:
Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Walcott – Nasri – Arshavin
With a bench of Lehmann, Eboue, Rosicky, Diaby, Chamakh, Cesc and Bendtner
The question about tactics comes down to the formation we played – 4-5-1 at home? Again? We’ve seen before that that formation is too defensive at home – yet we maintain playing it, time and time again. We have two decent strikers on the bench in Chamakh and Bendtner – why not add in an extra attacking player? Blackburn came to defend and then counter attack – they whacked 10 men behind the ball and then tried to launch counter attacks. So to combat this, what do we do? Play 5 midfielders and leave Van Persie up front… Nice. Tactics – wrong.
And when we’re still 0-0 and Arsene wants to introduce Cesc, he takes off our second best attacking force in Arshavin and puts on another midfielder – everyone in the ground could see that Alex Song was injured and that Arshavin was trying his best. Tactics – wrong.
It’s frustrating to see us play with so little fire in our bellies. This performance was the tip of the iceberg – any thoughts of us being able to win the title have surely vanished. Even die-hard gooners will know it’s not possible now. People point to Alumnia and Squillaci as weak spots in our team… but they haven’t contributed to our inability to score at home to a mid-table Blackburn team that conceded 7 at Old Trafford. Motivation – not there.
Arsene was very deflated after the game and said:
“It was a frustrating performance because we had no pace in our game. Overall it was a flat performance with a lack of energy level, a lack of sharpness. It was quite a big concern to see what we have seen today. It is difficult to identify one special thing. I felt we started OK and after our game became flat. Very few players looked to have the resources to put the pace up in the game. Part of it is down to the fact that Blackburn defended well but I don’t put the majority of reasons down to that. I feel it is more down to our poor offensive performance today.”
And his phrase “big concern” – is telling. Why don’t these players realise that the title could be theirs – if they just could get more motivated, concentrate and stop bottling it.
Arsene continued to talk about our level of performance and the next steps and said this:
I fear nothing, I am concerned about our performance today. You [the media] project all the consequences but I don’t take any consequences, I just say that before we speak about the title we have to focus on our performance level, because it was not good enough today. That is our first concern. After that we can see but our performance was flat, so we have to come back to a better level.
Next Sunday we take on Blackpool away and we need to get back to winning ways ASAP… we have to consolidate our 2nd position at least, finishing 3rd or 4th would be a stab in the privates. I expect a reaction from the last 4 games that we haven’t won. We need more out of this team.
I’ll leave it at that for now… and await tomorrow’s post…